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North Hills woman stays true to her heritage with Mennonite cooking

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Dianna Herr Croskey has lived in Gibsonia all of her life, but she has a real historical connection to Lancaster and a love for Mennonite cooking.

Her ancestors purchased land from William Pennand became the first Mennonite community in the United States.

One of Dianna’s ancestors, Hans Herr, was a Mennonite bishop, and the house he built became the “meetinghouse” and his home. It’s a historical landmark in Lancaster and offers tours and educational classes. Dianna stays connected to her heritage through her cooking.

Travel back to the 1700s with simplicity and flavor by trying her Poor Man’s Steak and Hot German Potato Salad that are true and tested. Years ago, Dianna put together a cookbook to preserve her family favorites, and it ended up selling 400 copies.

Poor Man’s Steak

(serves six to eight)

1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed

1 cup of milk

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

½ cup chopped onions, or can use onion powder

3 pounds ground beef

10 ounce can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup

Combine the crackers and milk, then let sit 15 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper and onion. Add the ground beef. Press the mixture onto a large baking sheet with sides, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Cut the meat into square patties, roll in flour, brown in butter on both sides, then transfer to a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour the soup over the patties and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove from oven and serve while hot.

German Potato Salad

(serves six to eight)

6 cups cooked, then sliced potatoes (Yukon Gold work the best)

½ pound bacon, cooked crispy (can cut into pieces before frying)

1/3 cup bacon drippings

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon celery seed

½ cup chicken broth

½ cup white vinegar

Heat the drippings, blend in flour, sugar, salt, pepper and celery seed. Gradually add in broth and vinegar. Cook, stirring constantly, until just slightly thickened. Pour over the potatoes and bacon. Stir gently. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.